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My LinkedIn Connection Strategy

On my “13 Simple Techniques To Get More Leads with LinkedIn” webinar one of the participants asked:

“Should I accept invitations from people I don’t know, what should my LinkedIn Connection Strategy look like?”

My LinkedIn Connection StrategyGood question. The more connections, the bigger your reach. So technically it’s a good business strategy to accept everyone’s invitation. But yet, I don’t recommend this approach. In this post I’m sharing

My very personal LinkedIn Connection Strategy

It’s not just a numbers game

Yes, it’s true that your reach increases the more connections you have in your network. But just like on Facebook, the numbers alone won’t guarantee your success. Even though LinkedIn is a business network, don’t forget that “people do business with people”. So if you just have numbers in your network, and not real connections, you won’t get anything back from your marketing efforts.

So Sarah, what’s your LinkedIn Connections Strategy?

1. Always accept invitations with a personal message

Whenever I get a personalized invitation on LinkedIn, I ALWAYS accept it. The fact that the person made the effort to customize the default message and tell me why they’d like to connect with me shows me that they really care. I then accept the invitation and send them a message back to thank them for the invite

Linkedin invitation personalized
Use this tip also when you invite people to connect. Always customize the LinkedIn message!

2. No personal message: look at the person’s profile then decide

If you receive a non-customized invitation, have a look at the person’s profile. Maybe you’ve met them at a recent event , maybe you’ve been in touch by e-mail, maybe they are one of your Facebook fans… If none of those options apply, maybe they are at least in an industry that’s similar to yours or your target audience. If that’s the case, accept the invitation. And then make the first step to turn that contact into a connection. Reach out and send them a short message. For example: “Thanks for your invitation. I remember meeting you at… I’m glad we’re connected here on LinkedIn now…”. I get an answer 90% of the time!

3. If non of the above apply, decide if you want to make the first step or ignore the invitation

If you ruled out that you know the person, he/she is not a potential future client or joint partner, is not in a geographical area where you do business … then decide on your next move:

  • will you make the first step, i.e. accept the invitation and then send a message to find out how this person knew about you and why he/she wanted to connect with you
  • or will you simply ignore the invitation and move on

If you accept without reaching out to them, then this contact will remain a number and not turn into a connection.

So that’s my LinkedIn connection strategy. It’s all about making it personal. Do you agree? Do you have another tip you would like to share? Post it in the comments below !



Sarah Santacroce

Sarah is an internationally recognized LinkedIn Specialist & Online Presence Mentor who has personally coached over 1,900 entrepreneurs. She helps them position themselves as experts on LinkedIn so they get clients with ease. In addition, Sarah is known for helping helping conscious entrepreneurs market their business authentically & anxiety-free, sell their services & make a difference. She’s also the founder of The Gentle Business Revolution movement and host of the podcast with the same name. When she’s not working, she loves adventure & traveling, yoga & nature walks or hanging out with her family.


  1. Kim Whitaker on August 9, 2012 at 7:52 pm

    That’s really helpful, Sarah. Initially I only connected with people I had met personally or spoken to on the phone but I am now a bit more flexible. I guess my approach is similar to yours but I hadn’t actually formulated it into a strategy so useful to have your thoughts. Thanks.

    • ssantacroce on August 9, 2012 at 8:29 pm

      You’re welcome, Kim ! Glad you found it helpful.

  2. Kim Gusta on August 10, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    Great tips, Sarah. I had always wondered what to do with invites I received where I don’t know the person and didn’t receive a personal note from them. I ran a webinar yesterday and got quite a few LinkedIn invites from attendees, but only a few took the time to write a personal invitation.

    Your post also reinforces my new intention to always send a personal invite if I want to connect with someone on LinkedIn.

    • ssantacroce on August 10, 2012 at 6:11 pm

      Thanks for your comment, Kim. Glad you liked the tips and will put them into practice right away !

  3. Lorii Abela on August 11, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    Great post, Sarah! Love the tips and points that you have shared. I also do received invitations from people that I don’t know, surely this would help me decide on what to do with it. Thanks a bunch!

    Lorii Abela

    I found this great blog of yours through Social @ Blogging Tracker’s show off activity. Great to connect and meet you! 🙂

    • ssantacroce on August 11, 2012 at 6:33 pm

      Thanks for stopping by, Lorii ! Glad you liked it and can use the tips as a basis to establish your own connection strategy 🙂 Very nice to meet you too !

  4. Veronica Martin on August 14, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    Thank you for your post. It’s a strategy I’ve adopted myself after a disappointing invitation from someone who requested a connection without a message. I reviewed her profile and sent her back a message thanking her for connecting with me, let her know I’d enrolled in the same coaching programme from which she indicated she’d graduated, and included the following: Was there something specific that prompted you to reach out? I do try to learn more about my connections to see where I can help or provide contacts.

    That was a year ago, and no response. As she now pops up frequently on my page as she adds to her contacts, I see that she’s grown her network to a very high number, but I wonder how many real, useful connections she’s making. I’m a number in her network, but a disappointed one. I’d thought of unconnecting, but figure there’s no harm in leaving the connection there, as you never know….

    I appreciate your insights, and enjoy reading your posts; thank you for sharing with us all!

    • ssantacroce on August 14, 2012 at 5:36 pm

      Dear Veronica, unfortunately in networking numbers don’t count as much as real connections. So even though the person you are referring to might have a bigger network in terms of numbers, but he/she doesn’t have the support & connection that makes a tribe. Thanks for reading 🙂

  5. Bill Hughes on August 14, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    Great guideline to live by… I’ve always wondered why someone would want to connect when there is no apparent opportunity. I have often used Sarah’s suggestion, “Ask where they heard about you and why they think it would be of benefit to connect”. If I hear nothing then my course of action is clear… If I do hear from them and it’s evedent that they need to do some work on their LinkedIn strategy then Sarah will get the introduction… Thanks, Have a great rest of the summer!

    • ssantacroce on August 14, 2012 at 9:19 pm

      Thanks for stopping by, Bill ! And thanks for sending those in need of more LinkedIn training my way 🙂

  6. Rebecca Livermore on August 18, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    Sarah,I really appreciate all of your LinkedIn tips, because I haven’t really maximized LI yet, and I learn a lot from your posts and videos on this subject.

    • ssantacroce on August 18, 2012 at 6:56 pm

      And I appreciate your comments, Rebecca 😉 Thanks !

  7. 9 Ways to Make LinkedIn More Social on November 8, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    […] 5. Take initiative: when people send you default invitations, decide whether this person is of value to your network. If yes, then accept their invitation but take initiative & reach out to them. Say something like “Hi Peter, I gladly accept your invitation to connect. Out of curiosity, where did you come across my profile? I look forward to being in touch. Best wishes – Sarah” This way, you establish a first contact & are not only a number in the other person’s network, but a real connection. If you’re not sure which requests to accept, read about My LinkedIn Connection Strategy.  […]

  8. Janet Barclay on November 20, 2012 at 12:47 am

    Sarah, I love your point about sending a personal message once you’ve decided to accept an invitation to connect. I’ve been trying to do that and this is a great reminder if why it’s worth the effort.

    • ssantacroce on November 20, 2012 at 9:01 am

      Good to hear that you’ve been doing that already, Janet ! Keep doing it, I really think it makes all the difference 😉

  9. Pamela Joy on June 21, 2019 at 1:09 pm

    Thank-you Sarah, this piece is quite validating for me and encouraging as well.
    I do like to personalize my messages to people and I definitely do that when I know them. Ifs a way of creating connections and possible clients, this is surely a powerful concept to acknowledge.
    Acknowledging that as my intention can certainly create a more effective and reliable outcome.
    I am glad you shared ways to personalize when I don’t know them.
    I was wondering in the suggestion of taking a look at their profile, when there is something of mutual interest, I can comment on that and acknowledge to them that it is good to be connected with them. By the same token, if I want to send them an invitation to connect, I can acknowledge mutual interest based on their profile as a reason as to why I am reaching out to them.
    Then without sounding like a hard sell, to inform them of how an Astrology Reading by me would greatly benefit them. That’s what I need to learn.
    I imagine I can get the answer to that in session 5.
    If not something to discuss in the Q & A.

    • Sarah Santacroce on June 21, 2019 at 1:17 pm

      Hi Pamela, yes, please bring this question to the next Q&A. Thanks

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